Opportunities will pass everyone in life. Whether you’re working in a fast food restaurant or a high-end office for a bank, opportunities will come and go depending on how perceptive you are. Generally, if you’re happy with your current position of employment, you’re less likely to see the opportunities around you and more likely to stick with what you currently have.
However, in today’s society, not taking a risk is perhaps the only guaranteed method of failing. That’s a paraphrased quote from Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and one of the richest people in the world. We won’t be discussing that particular quote in this article, but 7 others that come from successful people that come from different backgrounds and industries.
“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.” – Tom Peters
Tom Peters is a successful American writer, best known for his work on business management practices. He’s taught many successful entrepreneurs how to gain success and also works as a consultant. His book, In Search of Excellence, was released in 1982 and became the turning point in his career. It was an instant bestseller, spreading throughout the United States on a national level and even appearing on TV.
This is a simple quote to start with but it contains a powerful message. There are many opportunities out there so if you can find them, don’t turn a blind eye. Far too many people don’t have the ability to spot opportunities when they see them. Being able to see these opportunities is a fantastic thing because it means you have that ability to tell when you can take a risk. Even if you don’t take it right away, keeping an eye on it and monitoring how it does can give you a great deal of information. Turning away and ignoring it will lead to nothing.
“To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the Ernest L. Arbuckle professor of business at Harvard. She’s also director and chair of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975. She was also the top-ranking woman in a 2002 study of the Top Business Intellectuals and named one of the 50 most powerful women in Boston.
Kanter’s quote is all about preparing for your next idea. Opportunities that you take don’t always work out, but that’s completely understandable given the circumstances that surround risk. Not every opportunity works out and by taking a risk, there’s always a chance that what you do will fail. However, even if failure is an eventuality, you should always have something else lined up, like a plan B of sorts. Does having a backup plan mean that you plan for failure? Yes. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Absolutely not! To continuously grow your skills and gather experience, you must minimize the downtime you have between taking risks and recuperate your losses as quickly as possible. If you’re going to stay ahead of the curve and become successful at what you do, then you need to constantly nurture your skills and always seek opportunities.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston S. Churchill
Churchill was a former British Prime Minister. He was a politician, an army officer and also a writer. He was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 till 1945, and also from 1951 to 1955. He played an integral role in Britain’s survival and victory throughout several wars and was famous for his speeches to the British public.
Churchill’s quote here is all about how one sees an opportunity. To many people, opportunities can seem difficult. If there’s a job opening in an industry that you love, then you might think that you’re unlikely to get the job, you might think it’s difficult to apply or you might be hesitant because you don’t think you have the right skills to do so. On the other hand, optimists tend to see opportunities whenever there are difficulties. An accident, for instance, might be viewed as a terrible thing for a pessimist, but an optimist can see the silver lining even if they’re in hospital recovering. Whether it’s finding legal advice such as Atlanta Attorneys to help claim compensation or spending the downtime in hospital writing up a new business plan, it’s important to look for the silver lining no matter where you are and where you end up.
“Most people miss Opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison
Edison is often described as America’s greatest inventor. He contributed much to mass communication and telecommunications, inventing things such as batteries for electric cars, electrical power, recorded music, motion pictures and mechanical vote recorders. He was self-educated and holds 2,332 patents across with the world with 1,093 in the United States alone.
Edison’s quote here is very typical of modern-day entrepreneurs and employees in general. Opportunities are often seen as lucky chances that people get which can transform their lives. They think of it as getting a lucky promotion or meeting a famous celebrity at a party and getting on their payroll. They think opportunities involve doing minimal work for little gain, or they think that opportunities mean propelling you to the top of an industry through sheer chance. Unfortunately, this is completely untrue. Opportunities are, as Edison describes, dressed in overalls and looks like work. Opportunity means facing risk, and risk means that there is a chance for it to fail. Failure is countered by hard work and preparation, both of which seem to be lost on most people in the modern day.
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was a famous actor and martial artist that was born in Chinatown, San Francisco. He had a successful acting career and is often credited with changing the American perception of Asians in western films. He was a practitioner of Wing Chun and later created his own martial arts philosophy, dubbed Jeet Kune Do.
Lee’s quote here pokes at the passive nature of many people in the world. They simply sit and wait for opportunities to arise, but we all know that it’s the early bird that catches the worm. By simply waiting and hoping for something to appear, you’re essentially getting the remains that others have picked clean. Those who are serious about finding opportunities can create them on their own–they don’t need to wait. If you’ve graduated from art school and want to start a business, then you need to continue working on your craft and expanding your network in addition to your set of skills. By having a more attractive resume, you have a better chance of working together with industry figureheads and attracting attention because you can show that you know what you’re doing. If you don’t create your own opportunities, you’ll always be behind the competition.
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln is a well-known name throughout the world, not just the United States. He was an American statesman and lawyer who also served as the 16th President of the United States in 1861, right up until he was assassinated in 1865. He led the United States through a period of turmoil; he kept the country stable through the American Civil War and achieved amazing things like modernizing the economy and abolishing slavery.
Preparation is perhaps one of the most important things you can do if you want to take control of opportunities. If you see many chances pass you because you’re simply not skilled enough to take them or don’t have the courage to do so, then as time goes by, you’ll have missed countless chances to further your ability and forge a new career path for yourself. It’s important that you nurture your own skills, build up experience and be prepared to make switches as soon as you see an opportunity arise.
“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy
Tracy is a Canadian-American motivational public speaker, and also a self-development author. He’s written over 70 books that have been translated into many different languages and focuses on topics such as leadership, selling and self-esteem.
Tracy’s quote here is the embodiment of confidence. Many people don’t realize just how important it is to act with a high level of trust in your own ability. It shows your employees that you know what you’re doing, it shows the industry that you believe in your own products, and it helps you become more decisive. If you’ve made a decision that you don’t wholeheartedly agree with, then it’s time to take a step back and realize that you’re not being true to your own ideas and passions. If you want to be successful, then you need to be confident and decisive when taking on opportunities.